San Diego Classic Film Calendar

Monday, January 11, 2016

RIP David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World

I don't normally do this sort of thing, write a tribute to a celebrity when they pass away. I think it's that if I don't know someone personally, it's hard to claim a claim a personal connection to them beyond the obvious connection between artist and audience. Maybe, it's that I spend so much time watching old movies, whenever someone from classic film dies, it's hard to feel bad to hear someone died who was blessed with a very long life. The only thing I know for sure is that the death of David Bowie has hit me a lot harder than these things normally do. 

Looking at Facebook and Twitter, the thing that jumps out at me is that people who are half my age or 20 years older are all feeling the same thing. I think what made David Bowie unique is that he was something of a chameleon. He always managed to stay relevant. Other artists re-invent themselves. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this bad, but it almost always seems contrived. With David Bowie, it was more like he was continually evolving. No matter what he did, he could tap into whatever was happening musically and put out something that was uniquely his but still perfectly at home with what was going on at that moment.

I saw the news in a Facebook post over breakfast. What immediately went through my mind was something that happened on Saturday. My wife and I go to a dance club called, Club Sabbat. The music leans toward industrial, goth, and synth pop. In the back room (on nights when they have a back room), the DJs skew more retro with a mix of 80s music, things like Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, along with older stuff from bands like Convenant, Wolfscheim, and Nine Inch Nails. It's very mixed crowd, gay, straight, whatever falls in between, kids barely old enough get in the bar to people our age, 40s and 50s.

Anyway, it was late Saturday, after 1 am. We were getting ready to leave, when the DJ, put on Fame. What struck me was how well this song held up. Here was a song that was released 40 years ago, older than probably two thirds of the people in the club, yet everybody was digging on it, not because it was old, but because it was good, timeless.



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